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Nov 16 2020

Exercise CYBER COALITION 2020 underway

MONS, Belgium - CYBER COALITION 2020 (CC20) is NATO’s largest annual Cyber defence exercise which will be conducted by the NATO's Allied Command Transformation under the governance of the Military Committee from Nov. 16 - 20, 2020.

For the first time in 13 years, due to COVID-19 precautionary measures, this exercise will be executed in a virtual environment.

CC20 tests decision making processes, technical and operational procedures, collaboration, and NATO and National Cyber Defence Capabilities.

The exercise will improve collaboration within NATO’s cyberspace domain, enhance the ability of the Alliance to conduct operations and provide feedback to NATO Cyberspace Transformation.

“Cyber defence is part of collective defence. CYBER COALITION 20 proves NATO’s ability to adapt and to counter any cyber threat even during a pandemic like COVID 19,” said Commander Robert Buckles (US Navy), Exercise Director.

NATO and the European Union face similar challenges in protecting our networks against a growing threat of cyber-attacks/service denial. Lessons learned from previous exercises have recognised this with greater involvement from the European Union Cyber Defence Staff. Cyber defence is part of collective defence, and NATO has made clear that a severe cyber-attack could trigger Article 5. On one hand we have seen hospitals and other healthcare services targeted in the midst of a global pandemic. This is dangerous and irresponsible. It can cost innocent lives. On the other hand, Cyber-attacks are becoming more frequent, intense and sophisticated. The recent global ransomware attacks demonstrate how important it is to have strong cyber defences. We have seen a recent increase in frequency and sophistication of cyber-attacks against NATO. To counter these threats, the Cyberspace Operations Centre provides NATO’s first and only cyberspace theatre component, responsible for persistent, centralised and comprehensive cyberspace situational awareness and co-ordination of the full spectrum of NATO military activity within cyberspace.

The overall aim is to bring together a cyber coalition of NATO entities, Allied Nations, and Partners to strengthen Alliance ability to deter, defend, and counter threats in and through cyberspace in support of NATO's core tasks.

Despite the challenges of executing a multinational exercise during the COVID-19 pandemic, participants are taking part from 25 NATO Allied Nations, 4 Partner Nations and the European Union (The European Union Military Staff and Computer Emergency Response Team for the EU). This includes approximately 1000 participants.

CYBER COALITION 20, demonstrates NATO capabilities to protect its own IT networks 24 hours a day from cyber-attacks and to share information about cyber threats in real-time with Allies and Partners including the EU.

Story by SHAPE Public Affairs Office

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